Monday, July 13, 2015

The Wish Stealers by Tracy Trivas, 2010

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When a sinister old woman leaves Griffin Penshine a box of twelve shiny pennies, she sets in motion a desperate quest—because the old woman was a wish stealer, and each penny represents a wish she stole from a wishing fountain decades earlier. Somehow, Griffin has to make things right, or the opposite of her own wishes will come true—and it could literally be a matter of life and death. The Wish Stealers introduces a new voice in middle-grade fantasy, as bright and sparkling as Griffin’s pennies.

So, I thought this was going to be really bad. It wasn't, though - I really liked it! I mean, it looks kind of boring and/or cliche, right? Well, it sort of was but it sort of . . . wasn't. Griffin's efforts to return the pennies to people who need them (while wrestling with her new identity as a "Wish Stealer" - does that mean she's a bad person now?) leads her to a lot of great places, not to mention a lot of great people.

The basic premise is pretty unoriginal at first: a girl gets some magical objects foisted off on her that bring bad magic upon her head, and she must scramble to set things aright while discovering some truths about herself. However, once the story got going it never felt dry. I never paused while I was reading and thought "gee, this is so boring and unoriginal." I simply read it, and enjoyed myself doing so.

Griffin is dealing with a lot of stress, from worrying about her grandmother's health to hoping for a healthy baby sister to starting middle school. Her life becomes pretty hectic as the story goes on and she struggles to accomplish her goals, become/remain friends with a boy named Garret at school, and balance her fears about the baby and her grandmother all at the same time.

There are a few things that stick out a little bit, like the way Garret is supposed to be the hottie all the girls chase. Trivas mentions this a few times at the beginning, making him into the "popular but shallow" boy who will inevitably turn out to be more than he seems, but then drops the whole popularity thread and makes the popular girls actually tease him along with Griffin later in the book. It didn't feel congruous to the plot. Also, Garret and Griffin both start with G. I read extremely quickly, registering words basically by their first and last letters and nothing more. When I'm reading dialogue between two people whose names start with G (especially when the girl's name could also be a boy's name) it is . . . difficult. And slightly annoying.

Other than that, though, I really have no complaints. Wish Stealers was a great read, and one I would definitely recommend in the future.

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